THROUGHOUT THE SEASON THERE ARE THOSE TIMES WHEN LIFE IS WELL BOTH WITH TIME AND WITH FINANCES THAT ALLOWS A LITTLE FUN FISHIN'. IN THESE INSTANCES THE PRESSURE TO ACQUIRE POINTS DOESN'T EXIST AND CHANGES A VIEW ON THE APPROACH. GENERALLY GOING FOR THE WIN OR A DIE. I CALL 'EM "OPENS" BUT IT BOILS DOWN TO FISHING SMALL EVENTS WITH SOME BUDDIES OR A SELECT EVENT FROM A SERIES THAT I CAN'T FISH DUE TO OTHER COMMITMENTS.
MOSQUITO GOTT 4/5/03- Things have been cold- very cold this early year. The boat has only run in the driveway and what little fishin' I have done seems to suggest - it's just too damn cold! During the couple of weeks earlier when 2ft of ice melted down everywhere in a week or so there was a bite all over that just made my heart burn to get out. The reality of my gear just wasn't there though. Trucks, boats, reels, rods, gear- remained semi-strewn about throughout the winter and was only slowly getting attention. Just when I got it all together- It's gets downright freezing out again and the iceout bite disappeared!!! But in good spirit and a commitment to fish with a new partner for 2003 I called Wayne Corbett the night before and "checked his sack". His response after some dredging about was " I feel good- I'm pumped". That was enough for me- the cold return of winter kinda dismantled my early spring jitters for a bit, leading to considerations of sleeping in the next Saturday morning. Wayne's words awoke my spirit- let's go fish! He arrived around 5am filled with energy. I wasn't very confident about the cold dreary day's weather ahead as well as getting the feel for a new guy in the boat. Wayne continued to pound out enthusiasm as we hopped into the truck to Mosquito. I tried a little Kid Rock to get it going - Wayne kinda turned to look at me. We decided to talk on the way there!
I took a second mortgage out on my home to buy a new boat last year- this sacrafice has led to three rules when I fish with someone. $20 gas/oil money cash the day of each and every event, wherever it may be, I carry the bag to the scales, and I run the boat and make or break where we fish. It just makes life easier to do it this way for me- so long as the guy in the back knows the rules up front there is no controversy (usually). I sacrafice my home - you always smile and fish from the back of the boat all day after giving me $20 and split any checks.
Wayne was with the game plan in this regards and was actually saving me from a day of letting my enemy swallow me alive. I had too much on my mind outside of fishn', the cold bit into my feet and of the belief there was little chance to get much of a skinny bite going.
"We are going to crank the first two hours Wayne". "The area is small and it will get redundant- but we aint leaving". For the first two hours of the tournament- thats exactly what we did. First mistake! After hauling water and one walleye all early am we hit the banks of some of the coldest muddiest water that could be found - right on each of my "holes". So much for this I thought - I usually like coffee like water too- this stuff was just plain old soup though and destroying any hopes of my previous experiences in the areas. That was exactly the problem. I was focused on what I knew - not what I should be learning or allowing myself to experience. Tap tap- grab and hold - yank - the first fish of the day finally bit around 10am. I missed the first bite of the year in the big boat. Mosquito fish are notrious for following up a flippn' bite and a quick adjustment to my lure and back into the spot - tap tap tap- this time I waited - fins walking the top of the water I hooked up a solid fish ( I think it was the big of the day, Wayne may argue that a little!) and Wayne snuck the net under him in under 2 seconds. Now- I'm ready.
We vowed to stay put - fish slow- forget about the muddy ass cold water and winter remnants of vegitation. It was looking ugly- but we both could feel something about to happen.We made pass after pass- only turning one more nice fish, rolling over top my bait missing it entirely. Continuing to fish and shaking it off "Here it is Wayne, the best part of the bank"- nada. We go back - "here it is Wayne, the best part of the bank" - I was starting to think he thought I was full of it! Suddenly, I felt a jiggle in the rear of the boat and saw a $350 heavy rod go double - Wayne took a pig right out of 1" of water. Wayne commented "I'm just happy I could contribute" - I thought to myself at that moment- "He's gonna put the hurt on me today". Hot dogg the skinny bite is here- let's do this, together.
Things get a little fuzzy from memory already how the next few fish went. I know I was too brained on my "known producing bait" to change up. I kept throwing getting a hit every so often and missing it. Two times - "hurry up Wayne, throw in there"- two times the slow grab and pull feel from my rod left zero- Wayne's followup with a smaller profile bait led to bone crushing running strikes. He lifted one in the boat before my cold knees even turned into his direction - I stretched a net under the one with the lure unbuttoning once aboard. Wayne- he was in the ZONE!
I still was perplexed a little when Wayne caught his fourth fish. I was hitting the same areas- working them efficiently- I was even confident by this point! They just didn't like my energy, unless they were pike! I busted a pike over 40" this day! This being after I figured I damn well better tie on whatever I had close enough to match what Wayne was tossing! He was simply on 'em. By the final fish - Wayne felt it- knew why they were there and recognized the subtle difference that made it work. I never got there with him- until he let me carry the bag to the scales as promised! 5 fish - 12.7lbs - .2 shy of 1st - and I found a outstanding new partner for 2003! Thanks for the learning experience Wayne- you helped my head get back where it belongs- on my shoulder's in the back of the boat looking at a net with your fish in it! Next trip though Kid Rock is staying on- and loud!
WEST BRANCH 4/13 GOTT: I can keep this one short. We ran every single last spot I had on WB from end to end. I live in Ravenna and consider it my "home" lake despite never havng made but one small check on it. I really felt good in the am too with the outlook, as I know how difficult a cold water bite can be here. The days were warming and I really thought there was a chance, so did 60 other anglers who came in fourth place with Wayne and I - we all blanked! Three stinkn' fish came to scales- cold water or not- put that with the weights reported last year and I think a mystery is slowly unfolding at WB. Blame the musky, consistently low water levels the years preceeding, poor spawns- whatever- this aint by no means the same fishery that once lived just a few years ago. I still look forward to May 4th - at least to catch ONE fish!!!!! Stay tuned!